The only two I saw were both on eBay and both going for several hundred dollars, I looked all over trying to figure out where they came from. And finally bit the bullet and was able to purchase one.
After I got it, it was get to work immediately in search of more information.
I found out that getting one of these jars was a little harder than I thought — you might just have to change employment and even that isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be the proud owner of a Southwest Airlines cookie jar.
The PR department at Southwest Airlines came through for me, explaining the jars have never been for sale, but are a gift from the then President Coleen Barrett to employees. The jars are not given for any special or particular occasion, just a surprise treat.
Barrett had the jars commissioned specifically for her to gift and she has given out several hundred over five or six years. And since Southwest’s employees are particularly devoted to the company, they are a very special gift, hence rarely seen for sale.
The total number produced is not known, but thought to be in the 500 – 700 number range.
Much of the jar is cold-painted and flakes very easily. My personal feeling is these jar were produced by Lotus International — the paint colors/look is very similar, and the cold paint is also very similar, just reminds me of Lotus jars.
This jar sold for approximately $30. is a better made jar, with no cold paint, than the original classic, and is valued much less than the original airplane jar.
In 2007 Southwest Airlines offered a second jar online. Also for around $30, the second yellow jar could be confused by collectors not familiar with all three jars, but it’s important to know the difference and know what you are purchasing. This second is also all grazed, nicely made and like all three jars, has an adorable expression.
The bottom image shows the two yellow jars side by side to compare, the classic one is on the top and is slightly larger than the 2007 version.